NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – Counselors, Child Protection and Probation Officers and school Guidance Counselors in Nevis are now better equipped to treat young persons who abuse Cannabis.
The counselors attended a one-day training session on an international application- Cannabis Youth Treatment Programme- on April 19, 2021 at the Jessups Community Centre.
The training session, organized by the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention, is designed to help train substance abuse counselors and other counselors to conduct a brief five-session intervention for adolescents with Cannabis use disorders.
Ms. Zahnela Claxton, Principal Education Officer in the Department of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), said with the prevalence of students who use and or abuse marijuana, the training was very timely and necessary.
“This training will no doubt provide our counselors with additional tools which they will surely find useful. Is it necessary? Yes. Will it be useful? Yes. Is it timely? A resounding yes.
“In an age where Edibles and smoking are the norm for our young people it is imperative that we provide the necessary support for them. In some of the instances it is beyond what is happening in the schools and the community. In some instances it is something that that is encouraged at home.
“We know the effects [of marijuana use] on the development of our children and teens. In our schools we often see evidence of Cannabis abuse. In light of this, on behalf of the Ministry and Department of Education, I applaud the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention for this initiative. I hope you [participants] will be able to put what is learned into practice,” she said during the opening ceremony.
Mrs. Karimu Byron Caines, Director of the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention Secretariat, highlighted that the training was being offered by the Ministry of National Security as part of its responsibility to ensure that effective prevention, treatment and other intervention programmes, education, and training are made available to the persons in the Federation.
She explained that the counselors would be trained in effective applications of brief intervention approaches to the treatment of adolescents affected by cannabis abuse.
“This Cannabis Youth Treatment combines two sessions of Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), and three sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in a group format.
“So this is a training a tool that has been used across the Organisation of American States hemisphere and they have found it to be effective. So we are pleased to be sharing the material. The manuals will act as a guide as they go back to their facilities and institutions to implement this training session.
“We all know and are aware of the effects of marijuana, especially on our youths. We’ve heard it especially in our schools where students are sometimes coming to school high, causing some behavioral problems. We are seeing challenges with the academic performance and so we are pleased to be offering you the frontline counselors hands on material to an effective program,” she said.
The session was facilitated by Ms. Zara Jacobs a counselor in the Ministry of Community Development.